Walt Disney World has shut down its famous Splash Mountain water ride, a Magic Kingdom attraction that has long been chastised for its racist roots. But not everyone was relieved to see the ride end.
It closed on Sunday, and the TikTok hashtag #goodbyesplashmountain had 1.6 million views by Tuesday. Thousands of people liked sombre tribute videos to the ride set to the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” some of which claimed to show visitors’ last times riding its log boats over its 45-degree drop.
“I will always miss you. “Farewell, Splash Mountain,” read the caption of a video that received over 1,300 likes Tuesday afternoon.
Another video purports to show a two-and-a-half-hour wait to board on the final day.
Other Disney fans, known as “Disney adults,” attempted to profit from the ride’s closure by listing more than 70 bottles, Mason jars, and plastic bags filled with what they claimed to be “Splash Mountain water” on eBay. Some sellers claimed to have stolen the liquid during the ride’s final days of operation.
Several bids were placed on the containers, with some buyers offering more than $50.
The closure of the 30-year-old ride, which Princess Diana visited in 1993, comes after years of protests because it features several characters from Disney’s 1946 film “Song of the South,” which featured racist stereotypes.
The film is set on a plantation and stars Uncle Remus, an elderly Black man who tells traditional African American folk tales to white children cared for by Black servants.
Former NAACP executive secretary Walter White stated that the film “helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery.”
Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger confirmed in March 2020 that the film would not be available on the streaming service Disney+ and that it is “not appropriate in today’s world,” according to Deadline.
That June, Disney announced that Splash Mountain would be “reimagined” as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, based on the 2009 film “The Princess and the Frog.”
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will debut in 2024 at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. (When Splash Mountain at Disneyland Park closed was not immediately clear.)
“The new concept is inclusive — one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year,” Disney stated when the new feature was announced in 2020.
The Tokyo Disneyland website does not say whether or when the Splash Mountain ride will close. A Walt Disney World representative did not immediately respond to questions on Tuesday.
A Change.org petition started three years ago that condemned Splash Mountain’s racist imagery and demanded that it be replaced with a ride dedicated to “The Princess and the Frog” received over 21,000 signatures.
“While the ride is a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South,” according to the petition.
A counter-petition called “Save Splash Mountain” has received over 99,000 signatures.
“Splash Mountain has never included depictions of slaves or any racist elements, and is based solely on historical African folktales that families of all ethnicities have enjoyed for nearly a century,” according to the petition. “It’s absurd to re-theme such a nostalgic ride to appease a small group of ‘Disney haters’ who don’t understand the story.”
Splash Mountain is no stranger to controversy: in 2018, Walt Disney World banned a man from riding it while holding a “Trump 2020” sign.